U.S. plans third patrol near disputed South China Sea islands: source

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the South China Sea in this U.S. Navy picture taken October 29, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Anthony N. Hilkowski/Handout via Reuters

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the South China Sea in this U.S. Navy picture taken October 29, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Anthony N. Hilkowski/Handout via Reuters

The U.S. Navy plans to conduct another passage near disputed islands in the South China Sea in early April, a source familiar with the plan said on Friday, the third in series of challenges that have drawn sharps rebukes from China.

The exact timing of the exercise and which ship would travel inside a 12-nautical mile limit around a disputed island was not immediately clear.

The United States has conducted what it calls “freedom of navigation” exercises in recent months, sailing near disputed islands to underscore its rights to navigate the seas. U.S. Navy officials have said they plan to conduct more and increasingly complex exercises in the future.


The U.S.S. Stennis carrier strike group is currently operating in the South China Sea. The next freedom of navigation exercise is unlikely to be conducted by a carrier like the Stennis, but rather by a smaller ship, the source said.

Experts predict the next U.S. challenge to the various claims in the South China Sea could occur near Mischief Reef, a feature claimed by the Philippines and which was submerged at high tide before China began a dredging project to turn it into an island in 2014.

Mischief Reef is now the site of one of three military-length airfields China has built on man-made islands in the Spratly Islands archipelago.

U.S. Navy ships regularly patrol the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of world trade travels every year. China claims most of the area, and Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.

In recent months, with tensions rising around China’s reclamation activities, U.S. ships have been frequently and routinely shadowed by Chinese ships and regular communications with Chinese vessels have often been tense.

News of the planned exercise comes a day after U.S. President Barack Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a nuclear summit in Washington.

During the meetings, Xi told Obama that China would not accept any behavior in the disguise of freedom of navigation that violates its sovereignty, said China’s Xinhua news agency, in a clear warning to the United States.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Don Durfee and Sandra Maler)

Source: Reuters “U.S. plans third patrol near disputed South China Sea islands: source”


18 Comments on “U.S. plans third patrol near disputed South China Sea islands: source”

  1. Joseph says:

    Can’t wait for the third, fourth and so on. If someone draw a graph of US power projection, it will follow negative exponential patern, which mean that next patrol would be smaller and cheaper like USS Chancellorville, and they will bring Mandarin speakers. Gosh, who would have thought that Mandarin-speaking would be integral part of US navy. I won’t be surprised if the seventh or eighth patrol will consist only a group of cheap cutters that they fail to sell to Phillipines.


  2. Steve says:

    With All these Hidden Cloak n Dagger Stuffff, I may have to summon Godzilla – the God of Destruction from 20,000 fathoms deep to protect our glorious SCS and those beautifully engineered organic island reefs. It is said that Godzilla sucks nuclear radiation for sustenance to produce his atomic breath to kill Japanese and Americans for enjoyment. Godzilla is a metaphor to nuclear weapons and is widely believed this killer monster is a cross between a gorilla and a whale manifested after the atomic explosion in Japan, hence a nuclear monster of the deep. China only need to set up a high powered nuclear plant with a huge hose on one of those islands. This way Godzilla only need to suck radiation for daily consumption to produce his incredible atomic breath. Godzilla is indestructible, not born, but manifested from the atomic vapours of destruction with an inborn radiated hatred for Japanese and Americans. Why.? Japanese are still killing his ancestral whales and the Americans dropped the AB killing his unique genes into oblivion……….I think Godzilla adores Chinese Culture and will protect us. After all, our ancestors are also victims of the Japanese massacre…..Any thoughts Anyone.?


    • Joseph says:

      Godzilla will look good. For the very least, in fiction Godzilla will be more meancing and competent than that wimpy John Stennis mini battlegroup, although they’re both radioactive. After all, Godzilla could unbelievably spread terror to American on its 1954 premiere. Come to think of it, the American are really fearful people. I heard they made their continental highway networks to prepare for alien invasion. This way, they can run away easily just in case the alien really come, on in the case of 1954, when Godzilla screening. One should wonder, where would they run to?


  3. Looks like USN is Begging for China to give her face. Repeat FON can also be seen as US desperate move to show allies she a reliable security partner. So, unspoken perhaps, an agreement between Obama and Xi, you do FON repeatedly, I park more missiles on Mischief and Subi Reefs. Obama’s term end Jan 20 2017, so this whole FON business is orchestrated to make him feel strong and leave the problem for the next president. By that time come Jan 20 2017, China should have already fully militarise the islands. If the next president is smart and realistic, he will stop further FON and accept Chinese presence very close to Philippines.

    Another reason for the frequent FON now is because US fear Philippines may lose the PCA verdict and US will have less excuse for FON there after that. Thus the need to do FON with more frequency now. China should Grab This Opportunity to park more missiles on the islands before PCA verdict.


  4. Simon says:

    Notice Obama needed Xi to attend his security meeting yesterday in Washington to add credibility to something he championed. Putin boycotted it, but I guess Xi attendance is face saving to Obama who must have felt relieved. Obama should repay Xi by holding off installing THADD in South Korea and roll back its acctivities in SCS. If not Ameerica would no longer have China’s support in world affairs and that means America will be very isolated.
    It is interesting how UK PM David Cameron was seated away in a lesser position in a round table of global leaders whil Xi sat next to Obama in a position second in prominance to the host nation’s leader with French president as third prominance.


  5. Steve says:

    This 3rd FON may spell trouble for China/US bilateral relationship. President Xi has already warned Obama that China would not accept any behaviour in the disguise of FON that violates it’s sovereignty. This miscalculation of ‘I dare, U dare’ will be very interesting, if not, a naval Confrontation on the high seas.


    • Actually China should see this as an Opportunity to park Offensive missiles on Subi and Mischief Reefs. Let the American fool keep sailing closer and closer up to 500 meters. No problem. Each sailing will be rewarded with more missiles, perhaps China create a sandbar trap to ground her ship. US can do a dozen more and will feel a dozen more time stupid. She will just walk into China’s trap to further militarise in a hurry with a Perfect Excuse.

      Also after a while, the whole world, ASEAN will get tired of US antics and sentiments will quickly turn against US. One or two FONOP to let off steam is OK and the public can tolerate it. More than that, the general public will see US as a Vulgar behavior Monster and will not side with her as they will see this as a US Provoked War. In fact if war do break out, there will be a Vietnam era kind of protest, American Spring to impeach the president or fire the defense chief as they cannot see any good reason for such a silly FONOP done repeatedly.


      • Simon says:

        China should plant mines around 12nm within its islands when the yanks arraoves and remove them when they leave. Chna should also send planes and copters hovering close over American ships taking high res photos and videos of their confidential military hardwares and release them online and news outlet for the world to see.


        • Steve says:

          I think China already has control over the Paracels, but placing sea mines.? U are not kidding.


          • Simon says:

            Just in response to American FON. If the yanks ship sank it is their own fault.
            When the yanks leaves the mines will be taken away.


            • Steve says:

              With so many cartoon characters, I may have to summon my favourite hero CannonBall Z to protect the 12 nm zone of those beautifully engineered islands


        • Anonymous says:

          No mines. That would be an act of war. What China can do is something that looks like some strange objects floating (Chinese ‘research’ buoys) on the water to scare USN to make detours and possibly run aground. Building up hidden sandbars especially near 500 meters will keep USN away. Simple trick to scare USN.


      • Steve says:

        Without doubt, the SCS is at a stage of militarisation when the PH granted five military bases to the US. China will strategically fortify the engineered islands with advanced detection, weaponry and military assets. Probably those advanced missiles maybe on hair trigger alert when the US install their advanced weaponry in PH military bases.

        Seriously, Philippines have turned their nation into a tinderbox should a military confrontation break out between the US and China. It would be catastrophic for the Filipinos when hundreds of Missiles are bombarded into PH. The Ph Govt. has this amazing habitual capacity of servitude towards the US military. Clearly, the Asian neighbourhood are aware the US are provoking war in the SCS on the pretext of FONOP.

        Also, I am anticipating the Chinese and Russian Military will be announcing their yearly military exercises in the SCS. And China will conduct their own large scale military exercise as they did last year. This 2016 will be an interesting year of the Red Fire Monkey associated with ambition, activity, smartness, mischief and adventure. So far, China are victorious in all five associations.


        • Christianlike? : Coveting Your Neighbors' Islands says:

          “The Ph Govt. has this amazing habitual capacity of servitude towards the US military.”

          I think it’s called “money”, “bribe”, “moolah”. It’s well know that most of Philippine politicians are corrupt.


          • Steve says:

            Yes – I am aware of the $,B,M, especially during the Marcos Days. No wonder their military is still under developed. Lately, the PH special forces operation got wiped off in an ambush. According to report, they were following US directives.


  6. Kung Fu-Tzu says:

    Aye, the waters are shallow there. Let’s see how close they get to the reclaimed land.

    The other thing this episode reminds us of is that Washington’s words are worth sh*t. The U.S. has little credibility. They have reached the stage of a snake oil salesman. You can’t do business with scoundrels like that. They speak from both sides of their mouth … ie trying to have their cake and eat it.

    Such a pity … from being perceived globally with respected due to statesmen like Roosevelt, JF Kennedy, Ricard M Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, the U.S.’s reputation is now in tatters. No one can believe any word they say.

    Leadership is all about respect. Apart from their big stick, their “empire” will unravel overnight once the World sense Washington/U.S. is collapsing economically like the former USSR.


  7. This is not real FON. Real FON is done along busy shipping lanes and designed to show neutrality by sailing into Vietnamese and Philippines disputed areas as well.

    Obviously US is very very frustrated the Chinese are building up Mischief and Subi Reefs to listen in on her subs, air and ship movements off Oyster Bay, Palawan, Subic Bay etc. These two reefs will also allow China to be closer to Scarborough Shoal where US and Philippines hold frequent naval exercises and also with India, Japan sometimes this year Malabar exercise.

    China should just ignore US provocation and let her make a fool of herself. It is possible if US get too adventurous, a bigger ship will run aground like the Chinese Dongguan about two years ago near Half Moon Shoal. Let US get herself into an embarrassing situation and China will have the last laugh.


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